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F-16 Crashes in Utah Testing Range

January 9, 1998

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah (AP) _ An F-16C crashed during a training mission Thursday at the Utah Test and Training Range, the second time in two days that a fighter jet has gone down in the remote area.

The pilot, Lt. Col. Judd Kelley of the 34th fighter squadron, ejected safely. He was listed in good condition at Hill Air Force Base Hospital.

Capt. Dennis Mehring said the plane crashed about three miles east of Interstate 80 near the Utah-Nevada border.

Kelley was on a single-plane bombing run, practicing bomb drops on a stationary target, Mehring said.

Following Thursday’s crash, 388th Wing Commander Col. Ron Fly ordered a safety stand-down, grounding the remaining training missions for Thursday and all training missions for Friday.

On Wednesday, an identical plane crashed into the testing range after it collided in midair with another F-16C on a training run. One pilot ejected and wasn’t seriously hurt. The other was able to land.

The test range is a stretch of salt desert about the size of West Virginia located west of the Great Salt Lake.

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